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Islamic supremacists have firebombed and caused extensive damage to the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine in Paris, after it ran an issue featuring Islam’s prophet Muhammad as the guest editor.
Some Muslims didn’t get the joke. Recently the magazine’s website was hacked; the hackers left this message: “You keep abusing Islam’s almighty Prophet with disgusting and disgraceful cartoons using excuses of freedom of speech. Be Allah’s curse upon you!” The firebombing followed shortly thereafter.
The destruction of the Charlie Hebdo offices is the ugly obverse of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s ongoing campaign to compel Western states to criminalize criticism of Islam, including discussion of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism. The objective of this campaign, of course, is to render Western countries mute and hence defenseless against the advancing jihad.
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the OIC’s secretary general, has explained that Islam is under attack and must be defended. That Islam would not be “under attack” were not so many Muslims committing acts of violence and hatred in its name does not faze him for one second. The OIC is dedicated to getting the United Nations to approve a “legal instrument” that would criminalize “Islamophobia,” which “cannot be dealt with,” Ihsanoglu declared, except through “a robust political engagement” – that is, restrictions on the freedom of speech. Abdoulaye Wade, the President of Senegal and chairman of the OIC, made this point explicit several years ago: “I don’t think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy. There can be no freedom without limits.”
Ihsanoglu has expressed his pleasure with the success of this campaign: “In confronting the Danish cartoons and the Dutch film ‘Fitna’, we sent a clear message to the West regarding the red lines that should not be crossed. As we speak, the official West and its public opinion are all now well-aware of the sensitivities of these issues. They have also started to look seriously into the question of freedom of expression from the perspective of its inherent responsibility, which should not be overlooked.”
The pressure to accommodate Muslim demands to place Islam off-limits to critical discussion has been met with widespread success. While this self-censorship is presented as an act of “tolerance,” in reality it is a deliberate erosion of core Western concepts of free expression, which is an indispensable foundation of the American Revolution and of republican government in general. And we are surrendering it, gradually and voluntarily, to those who seek to impose on us a value system that elevates the sanctity of Islam over freedom.
Last August, the International Islamic News Agency reported that Secretary of State Clinton had agreed to “coordinate” with Ihsanoglu on ways in which “defamation of religions” could be prevented – an operation that cannot possibly be performed without placing freedom of speech restrictions into law, and giving some government agency the power to determine what is “hate speech” and what isn’t.
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